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Sat12202014

Boeing successfully completes test flight with green diesel

Boeing successfully completes test flight with green diesel

Boeing has completed the world’s first flight using green diesel. On December 3,...

U.N.F.C.C.C. head urges climate action as Lima Conference begins

U.N.F.C.C.C. head urges climate action as Lima Conference begins

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christ...

Philippines houses world’s largest solar-powered mall

Philippines houses world’s largest solar-powered mall

A mall in the capital city of the Philippines is now sporting a 1.5-megawatt sol...

U.S., China announce significant emissions reduction cuts

U.S., China announce significant emissions reduction cuts

The Governments of the United States and China have announced that they will be ...

Best Eco Cars of 2014

Best Eco Cars of 2014

Eco-friendly cars, also referred to as green cars, are vehicles that have a less...

Largest wind farm in Southeast Asia goes online in the Philippines

Largest wind farm in Southeast Asia goes online in the Philippines

The largest wind farm in Southeast Asia, a 150-megawatt installation in the Phil...

SPI Solar to acquire 360 MW worth of solar power projects in China

SPI Solar to acquire 360 MW worth of solar power projects in China

Solar Power, Inc. is set to become one of the largest solar developers in China....

Business

tenKsolar expands manufacturing capacity in Thailand

tenKsolar expands manufacturing capacity in Thailand

Friday, 19 December 2014

tenKsolar is establishing new production lines in Thailand for their manufacture of their solar modules. tenKsolar, which is based in Minneapolis, des...

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Technology

Bacteria producing sweet-smelling compound for greener fuels

Bacteria producing sweet-smelling compound for greener fuels

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

A sweet-smelling chemical compound primarily used in fragrances and flavoring is being studied for its potential as a clean and green biofuel. Methyl ...

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Politics

U.N. chief hails results of C.O.P. 20

U.N. chief hails results of C.O.P. 20

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the results of the recently concluded Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru. The Secretary-Gener...

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Living Green

Incandescent bulbs now entering their homestretch

Incandescent bulbs now entering their homestretch

Saturday, 06 December 2014

Nearly 125 years after the invention of the light bulb – technology that revolutionized the world’s way of life and living – the phased ban on sale of...

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Renewables

Low-Carbon

Seven eco-friendly home heating solutions

Seven eco-friendly home heating solutions

Friday, 12 December 2014

Environmentally friendly home heating solutions are valuable for the planet, and can lower your utility bills. With the numerous home heating alternat...

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Opinion

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Nutrition plays a critical role in everyone’s chance at a better future. Hunger, said Benjamin Franklin once, is the best pickle. Some say “pickle”...

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Researchers look into bacteria-powered water desalination process


Bruce Logan, Kappe professor of environmental engineering (right) and Maha Mehanna, postdoctoral fellow (left) are already at work on the next generation of microbial
desalination cells based on using air cathodes.
Image Courtesy of Penn State Live

A team of researchers from China and the US say bacteria that occur in wastewater can actually be used to produce energy needed in water desalination.

Researchers from the Penn State University and Tsinghua University in Beijing are working on “microbial fuel cells.” In this device, naturally occurring bacteria in the wastewater consume organic material, producing electricity.

The microbial desalination cell first cleans water by removing organic material from it. This process produces electricity which can then be used to desalinate water so that it can be safe for drinking.

Currently, it takes a lot of electricity to desalinate water, which is accomplished in many locations using a process called reverse osmosis, one that pushes water under high pressure through membranes that allow water to pass but not salt.

The researchers, however, admit that the system still has to be improved. In their tests, it took 200 milliliters of artificial wastewater containing acetic acid to desalinate just 3 milliliters of salty water. Another concern is that bacteria that run the cell might have a problem living in highly acidic environments, which happens in the cell as protons work their way from one electrode to another.

“This is not a practical system yet as it is not optimized, but it is proof of concept," Bruce Logan, Kappe professor of environmental engineering at Penn State, said.

The study was reported in a recent online issue of Environmental Science and Technology. It was supported by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.


- Katrice R. Jalbuena



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Reference:

1 http://live.psu.edu/story/40817

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